New Voices School of Academic & Creative Arts

Grades 6-8
Staff Pick Staff Pick for Special Ed
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What’s Special

Strong arts, dedicated staff and welcoming environment

The Downside

Small, cramped facilities with no gym

Our Review

Harmonies from the musical Grease greet visitors walking the halls New Voices School of Academic and Creative Arts. Up a flight of stairs, a student's artwork depicting a teen contemplating her body image in a mirror is part of a makeshift gallery. A ten-minute uphill walk through the residential Sunset Park neighborhood, New Voices is a simple route from the Prospect Avenue stop on the R train.

The school demographics have changed along with the neighborhood in recent years, and it now serves more middle class children than it once did. As a result, it lost its federal Title 1 funding, federal funds for high poverty schools. Nonetheless, it has maintained a racially diverse student body and, despite budget cuts, the school has maintained its dance partnerships. As part of "Dance off to College," graduate students from New York University's dance education program work with children; a visiting artist from the Paul Taylor Dance Company at Lincoln Center work with children and invites them to performances.

Sixth graders are introduced to chorus, visual arts, theater, instrumental music, graphic arts, and dance, then specialize in one studio for the 7th and 8th grade year. The yearly musical theater production is the highlight of the year. From calling production cues to applying makeup to the actors' faces, each child has some part to play.

The strong arts program complements academic instruction. For example, in addition to writing research papers, 6th-grade students created models of ancient Egyptian artifacts such as a pharaoh's bust after a field trip to the Brooklyn Museum of Art.

Principal Frank Giordano and his two assistant principals, Angela Lopez and Laurie Cianciotta, have teachers introduce basic concepts, then progressively allow students more freedom to control the direction of learning. For example, humanities instructors teach the basic tenants of the Fourth Amendment, then task students with leading discussions on privacy and mass surveillance. Graphic design teacher Jay Jay says he allows students to struggle through Adobe Illustrator assignments before intervening with detailed instructions.

The science program has grown the most in recent years, according to Giordano. Students begin 6th grade dissecting earthworms, then move to more complex animals such as rats. Older students study the genetic composition of two generations of fruit flies. There is now a Regents science course, and some take the algebra Regents exam in the 8th grade. No foreign language is offered in 6th or 7th grade; 8th grade students take Latin.

Giordano, who has been principal since 2004, has an easy way with the kids. He greets them by name and exchanges jokes with them. Unlike many administrators, he stays connected to the classroom: he teaches a 7th grade life science course each year.

New Voices shares the century-old building with PS 295. Narrow hallways swell with students during class changes and random sprouts of exposed insulation lace radiators. There is no gym, and kids have physical education in a corner of the cafeteria.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: The school offers team-teaching in every class two Integrated Co-Teaching (ICT) classes per grade level of the three total classes per grade. Students are seamlessly integrated to the classroom. As a parent of two children with developmental disabilities, Giordano is sensitive to children with special needs. He says he wants to create a school in which low test scores do not preclude a promising student from having access to the arts. His methods have been met with success; New Voices was ranked as "Excellent" in 2015-16 school quality reports for helping students with special needs improve on their state English and Math Tests.

AFTER SCHOOL: Students participate in after-school baseball, soccer, and running club. Other students join MS 88's girls and boys basketball teams.

HIGH SCHOOL ADMISSIONS: New Voices students attend arts and technical arts high schools such as Edward R. Murrow's technical theater program. The largest proportion of students attend Fort Hamilton High School.

ADMISSIONS: District 15. Admissions are determined by a Saturday audition and classroom observation with a teacher in the student's preferred specialization. (Seaira Christian-Daniels March 2017).

About the students

Enrollment
563
Asian
5.1%
Black
9.8%
Hispanic
33.4%
White
49.4%
Other
2.3%
Free or reduced priced lunch
27%
Students with disabilities
21%
English language learners
1%

About the school

Shared campus?
Yes
This school shares the building with PS 295
Uniforms required?
No
Metal detectors?
No
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
113%
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Attendance

Average daily attendance
95%
93% Citywide Average
How many students are chronically absent?
12%
20% Citywide Average

Is this school safe?

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
100%
77% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
9%
28% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
94%
82% Citywide Average
How many students say most students treat each other with respect?
70%
43% Citywide Average

About the leadership

Years of principal experience at this school
11.8
6.0 Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
93%
82% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal has a clear vision for this school?
97%
88% Citywide Average
How many teachers trust the principal?
93%
82% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
92%
72% Citywide Average
Teacher attendance
98%
96% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
93%
81% Citywide Average
How many teachers think the staff collaborate to make this school run effectively?
97%
86% Citywide Average
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Test scores

How many students scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
66%
27% Citywide Average
How many students scored 3-4 on the state ELA exam?
75%
30% Citywide Average

Arts offerings

This school has 7 dedicated spaces for Dance, Music, Theater, Visual arts, and an Auditorium
This school has 5 licensed arts teachers in Dance, Music, and Theater

Engaging curriculum?

How many students say this school offers enough programs, classes and activities to keep them interested?
87%
75% Citywide Average
How many students say they are challenged in most or all of their classes?
53%
56% Citywide Average
How many students say the programs, classes and activities here encourage them to develop talent outside academics?
88%
72% Citywide Average

Are students prepared for high school?

Accelerated courses offered for high school credit
Algebra I, Living Environment
How many 8th graders earn high school credit?
38%
26% Citywide Average
How many graduates of this school pass all their classes in 9th grade?
96%
84% Citywide Average
What high schools do most graduates attend?
Fort Hamilton HS, HS of Telecommunication Arts and Technology, and Edward R. Murrow HS
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

How does this school serve English Language Learners?

How many former English language learners score 3-4 on the State ELA exam?
29%
14% Citywide Average

How does this school serve students with disabilities?

This school offers self-contained classes
This school offers team teaching (ICT)
Average math score for self-contained students
2.47
2.1 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for self-contained students
2.56
2.2 Citywide Average
Average math score for SETSS students
2.78
2.3 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for SETSS students
2.99
2.3 Citywide Average
How many students say that students with disabilities are included in all activities?
53%
67% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
80%
88% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
89%
91% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say they are satisfied with the IEP development process at this school?
86%
90% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data
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